The partnership brings food pantries and prepared dishes to Bath Housing residents
BATH — May marks the one-year anniversary of Bath Housing’s partnership with Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, bringing fresh produce and pantry staples to each Bath Housing property.
The first pantry opened at the Moorings in May, with The Anchorage and Dikes Landing opening pantries in June, followed by Seacliff in July. Some 1,500 visits have been logged to the food pantries thus far, and 3,033 prepared meals have been delivered.
The partnership gives residents access to fresh produce, baked goods, and items like pasta and peanut butter, and to satisfying meals provided by the MCHPP soup kitchen in Brunswick.
Margaret, a Bath Housing resident, heads each week right to the produce crates to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. “This is my favorite part, and I enjoy being able to make some of my favorite family recipes like stuffed peppers,” she said.
Others appreciate the prepared meals, and for a variety of reasons. One resident recently home from surgery said that having a nutritious meal ready to eat was so helpful. “I would not have cooked a dinner for myself, and this was so good.”
In May 2021, Bath Housing Resident Service Coordinator Kathy Smith became aware of a pilot program between MCHPP and the Brunswick Housing Authority. MCHPP was developing satellite sites for pantries and food distribution to address transportation and mobility barriers facing some community members, and exacerbated by the pandemic.
Smith and Bath Housing leadership realized this was a no brainer. On-site food pantries addressed the lessons learned about meeting food security needs of residents during the pandemic — and drastically simplified the distribution process. Working with Caroline Daigle, MCHPP’s satellite pantry coordinator, Bath Housing prepped on-site freezers and completed a food safety course to get the program underway.
“One of our main goals with the satellite pantries — grocery store-style pantries in apartment buildings and community centers — has been to provide food for members of our community who have transportation, mobility, or dietary limitations that make it difficult to access adequate groceries within their budget or at all,” Daigle said. “It has been wonderful to collaborate with Bath Housing on this community-based programming, which can be personalized to meet the needs of each individual building.”
MCHPP currently operates 12 satellite pantries throughout Brunswick, Bath, Topsham and Richmond.
During the pandemic, Bath Housing successfully partnered with Cooking for Community, providing 7,000 meals to residents.
This model, with the food pantry located in the community room, is even more accommodating. Pantries are consistently restocked by MCHPP volunteers on the same day and time each week — and meals are always delivered on Friday afternoons.
“Anyone can go anytime, which really changes things for our residents,” Smith said. “It’s always open.”
Bath Housing is continually focused on addressing the needs of residents, offering not only stable housing and critical services like health care and food security supports, but also creating an environment that nurtures community and independent living.